Gaia Technologies, Inc. v. Reconversion Technologies, Inc., et al.

93 F.3d 774, 39 U.S.P.Q.2d 1826 (1996)

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Gaia Technologies, Inc. v. Reconversion Technologies, Inc., et al.

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
93 F.3d 774, 39 U.S.P.Q.2d 1826 (1996)

Facts

James Turner founded Entek Corporation. Turner patented four inventions and registered a trademark—all in connection with the creation of new products from old tire scraps—and assigned them to Entek. Later, Turner and Entek filed for bankruptcy. The intellectual property was sold to Banstar Corporation with the approval of the bankruptcy court. On August 4, 1991, the shareholders of Banstar unanimously agreed to transfer any interest in the intellectual property acquired from Turner and Entek to Gaia Technologies, Inc. (Gaia) (plaintiff). However, no instrument of assignment was recorded at this time. As of 1993, Banstar continued to represent itself to the bankruptcy court as the owner of the Turner-Entek intellectual property. Later that year, Gaia brought suit against Reconversion Technologies of Texas, Inc. (Retex) (defendant) and various related parties, alleging infringements of the four patents and the trademark. Gaia’s suit also included Texas state-law claims. Retex became Reconversion Technologies, Inc. (Retech) (defendant). Retech initially pled federal claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and the Lanham Act, though these claims never reached a verdict. In 1994, Gaia filed a recordation of the previously unrecorded assignment from Banstar to Gaia with an effective date of August 4, 1991, though the actual copy of the assignment was undated. The federal district court found in favor of Gaia on both the federal infringement claims and the state claims. Retech appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Clevenger, J.)

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